Have you ever thought about harnessing the power of the sun? If you use solar power, you can power up your devices and appliances whether you are on the road (traveling in your camper), or you are staying in an off-grid home, or you are at home but you want to reduce your utility bill.
When setting up your own solar panel system, there are four main components that you need, and these are: the solar panels, the power storage, and finally, the inverter. There are also other accessories that can help these three components perform better.
Buying solar panels, therefore, is one important task. The most popular type of panel these days is the bendable solar panel. But if you have no idea about what the best flexible solar panels are in the market today, I’ll give you my top list based on experience. I’ll also give you tips on what I look into when buying such panels.
- Best Flexible Solar Panel Reviews
- 1. Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panel
- 2. WindyNation 100W 12V Bendable Solar Panel
- 3. ALLPOWERS Solar Panel
- 4. Richsolar 100 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Solar Panel
- 5. DDY Bendable Solar Panel
- 6. SUAOKI Flexible Solar Panel
- 7. Kingsolar Flexible Solar Panel ETFE Surface
- 8. ECO-WORTHY Semi-Flexible Solar Panel
- 9. SUNPOWER Flexible Solar Panels
- 10. GIARIDE High-Efficiency Monocrystalline Cell
- What To Look For When Buying Flexible Solar Panels
- Other Important Factors To Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Flexible Solar Panel Reviews
1. Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panel
- Easy to mount
- Quite expensive
Having a reliable solar panel in your RV or home is a convenience everyone must experience. This is what Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panel aims to provide. With this product, you can get renewal energy easily wherever you are in the country.
What I appreciate about this solar panel is its flexibility. It is thin enough to follow the curve of the roof of my camper. With this important feature, I didn’t need to fix the panel on a frame. It is so bendy, I can even roll it and tuck it away when not in use.
In terms of flexibility, I am truly hats off with this product. Its thin characteristic makes it possible to be mounted with other types of vehicles with uneven surfaces such as boats, busses, campers, and even the crooked roof builds in your off-grid home. In addition, its MC4 connectors make linking it with other solar panels safe, quick, and easy.
Another feature that I like about this 12-volt solar panel is its durability. I am amazed that even though it is constantly exposed to natural elements (other than sunlight) such as rain, dust, wind, and even bird droppings, leaves and branches, it is still working exceptionally. Its performance is also unparalleled. It absorbs sunlight fast and converts energy fast.
2. WindyNation 100W 12V Bendable Solar Panel
- Simple installation required
- Blocking diode included
- No air gap between the mounting surface and the panel
When it comes to solar panels, it is important that you should purchase the ones that can accommodate the irregular shape of your RV roof and of unconventional houses. If you need a solar panel that’s bendable to supply some of your devices with renewable energy, this one from WindyNation is qualified enough to handle the task.
One of the things that I like about this WindyNation Solar Panel is its water-resistant feature. Other solar panels tend to short circuit during rainy days. With this characteristic, however, I am confident that this panel won’t malfunction if it gets wet.
My other favorite feature is the blocking diode. This regulates the flow of electricity during sunny days and prevents the battery from overcharging. For me, this is an important feature because it ensures the safety of the occupants in addition to the valuable items inside the house.
In terms of installation, I am genuinely amazed by how easy it is to mount the panel. With the instruction included in the package, I was able to mount it without breaking a sweat. In addition, I minimized my costs because I didn’t need any mounting frames. Its flexibility played an important role because I was able to bend it according to the curves of my roof.
3. ALLPOWERS Solar Panel
- Has an 18-month guarantee
- Junction box fall easily
Solar panels need not only be affordable and easy to install; it also needs to be efficient. If you want to get a bendable solar panel for your RV, home, or shed, there is no better product for you to try than the one made by ALLPOWERS.
I love this product’s design! It is thin, lightweight, and most of all — flexible. It can accommodate any kind of irregular surface I wish to mount it on. Its frameless characteristic is a huge advantage because it can be carried and stored without causing any strain on the owner.
In terms of performance, I have nothing negative to say about this solar panel. Its efficiency has been increased by up to 23%, meaning faster conversion of sunlight to electricity. Finally, it has an 18-month guarantee. I like this feature because I can replace it in case an unpleasant issue arises while I’m using it.
4. Richsolar 100 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Solar Panel
- Easy to mount
- Can be flexed up to 30 degrees
- Can last up to 25 years
- Difficult to store
When choosing a solar panel for your shed, it is important to consider the ones that will last a long time. If you are looking for a good solar panel that can serve you up to 25 years, this product from Richsolar will certainly amaze you to no end.
My impression of this solar panel is really good. I like its design; it is lightweight, tough, and most of all — flexible. This flexibility is very important because I can place the panel on certain spots in my shed with irregular and uneven surfaces. With up to 30-degree flexing capability, I can capture the sunlight in multiple angles.
Finally, I’m totally hats off with this solar panel’s longevity. It can last up to 25 years, depending on how it is taken care of. I take care of my solar panels in order to maximize their potential. With this particular panel, I know that I’ll be using it 25 years later. So far, five years on and it’s still working well.
5. DDY Bendable Solar Panel
- Highly efficient
- Can be mounted using cords or suction cups
- Includes 24-month warranty
- Plastic laminate is not heat resistant
Do you enjoy camping out but still want your creature comforts? Then, you certainly need a reliable solar panel to supply your appliances and gadgets with energy. If you haven’t found the brand to trust your camping electricity needs, then this particular solar panel from DDY will leave you speechless.
I really enjoy using this 40 W solar panel kit. It is lightweight, durable, and highly efficient. It can still absorb sunlight even in cloudy conditions. With this highly light-sensitive solar panel, I can still recharge my laptop and my cellphone without worrying about light conditions outside.
In addition, this product is very easy to mount. My favorite feature is the suction cups. The suction cups are strong, I can mount the panel vertically on the exterior portion of my home! If it is raining or windy outside, I can also use cords instead of the suction cups to secure it.
6. SUAOKI Flexible Solar Panel
- Bendable up to 30 degrees
- Easy to mount
- Absorbs energy even in cloudy days
- Plastic laminate not heat-resistant
As we all know, SUAOKI is a brand name that is synonymous with excellence. If you are looking for a flexible solar panel for your RV or camper, this brand will deliver an excellent performance that you won’t find in any competing brands in the market these days. In fact, this is my favorite of all panels I’ve had a chance to make a flexible solar panels review for.
SUAOKI is one of the best brands of solar energy products. This is why I am confident that this particular bendable solar panel won’t disappoint me. In terms of design, I really like what I’m seeing with this product. It is sleek, easy to use, and easy to mount. Since this solar panel is lightweight, I can easily mount it in a location where it will receive direct sunlight.
In terms of performance, I am glad to report that this is one of the most efficient flexible solar panels with 20% efficiency. It also has a diode that stops any incidents of the reverse drain during night time.
Its flexibility is comparable to other flexible solar panel brands. It can be bent up to 30 degrees, which is an important feature especially if you are going to mount it on an uneven surface of your camper or shed. Furthermore, I also like the fact that it is water-resistant. This means that the panel won’t be damaged even if it is exposed to heavy rain or snow. For me, this is one of the features which makes SUAOKI a trustworthy brand.
7. Kingsolar Flexible Solar Panel ETFE Surface
- Converts energy more efficiently
- Requires simple installation
- Doesn’t drain the battery
- Highly durable
- Does not come with extension cables
When I realized that heavy, rectangular panels add up to the total load of my RV home when traveling, I decided to find a more lightweight and flexible solution. I wanted a highly efficient and bendable set of solar panels, and I am glad to have found the 100-Watt panels from Kingsolar. When I am not using my camper, I remove it and install in my vacation cabin by the river, and it works really fantastically.
I needed two panels to cover the whole area of my RV roof so I could maximize the sunlight it receives and therefore increase the total capacity of my solar energy system. With these lightweight panels, the RV does not get any extra load. At the same time, since it is made from ETFE as opposed to the typical PET material, these panels can convert up to 23.5% better than the latter, which means it is one of the most energy-efficient panels out there.
I like that it comes with a built-in blocking diode that helps avoid draining the battery since batteries should never be drained of power if you want to extend its life. After inspecting its parts, I knew that this is very durable; even its attachments (copper wire and junction box) are all well-sealed.
Since it is flexible, I had no trouble installing it and connecting them to the whole system. It can be installed using velcro, cable ties, silicone glues, or even a strong double-sided tape.
8. ECO-WORTHY Semi-Flexible Solar Panel
- Highly flexible
- Lightweight and super portable
- Comes with MC4 connectors and 39-inch cables
- Has a waterproof junction box
- Has a sleek design; barely noticeable
- Simple to install and use
- No holes for mounting
- Adhesive sold separately
The ECO-WORTHY solar panel lives up to its name, as it has helped me make my home more eco-friendly. I dedicated myself to a personal project for my house: I wanted it to be more sustainable and less reliant on the grid, so I decided to install a small solar power system. I only needed a solar charger for my battery, but I needed ones that could be bent so it will be facing the sun fully when it is at its peak during the day.
I may not be an expert, but I found it pretty easy to install – although, I would have preferred it if it came with other installation options like holes on the side (for adding extra security with cable ties) or any clamping attachment. Each panel is made from 32 individual cells, allowing for better flexibility, so it works whether your roof is steeply angled or not.
I am glad that the junction box is sealed and will not get easily damaged, even when used near the sea. I figured this could be useful for those who would like a power source for their boats, or when you’re using your RV under rainy or wet conditions.
9. SUNPOWER Flexible Solar Panels
- Easy to store and is a no-fuss setup
- Portable and Weighs lightly
- Allows for a curvature of up to 30 degrees
- Is suitable for most stand-alone systems
- Has only four grommets/holes, one on each corner of the frame
I own a camper van with a slight curvature, so I was worried that I might not be able to attach solar panels to it without having to set up a flat mounting rack on top of my mobile home. Fortunately, portable solar panels like the SUNPOWER monocrystalline cells gave me the option to do so. But don’t get me wrong; it also works on flat roofs of your shed or home.
When I got the SUNPOWER flexible panel, I simply secured it in place using double-strength ties looped through the built-in holes. The panel wrapped around the curved roof nicely and I didn’t have to install any mounting racks or bars. Although, I wish there were a couple more holes on the frame (on the sides) so I could further tighten and secure the panel in place.
I liked that apart from the solar panel being flexible is that the junction box that comes with these 110-Watt SUNPOWER panels are also smaller than typical j-boxes. It is also worth noting that the product info says that whilst this panel can be used on boats, constant exposure to saltwater might reduce its service life.
10. GIARIDE High-Efficiency Monocrystalline Cell
- Can be bent up to 30 degrees curve
- Resistant to dust and water
- Has holes for easy mounting
- Comes with an 18-month warranty
- The grommets corrode easily
As an avid DIY-er, I dedicated myself to finding easy-to-use materials to build my own renewable energy system. With the help of a friend, I realized that I needed a slightly curved solar panel, as opposed to the typical flat, rectangular ones. After reading through dozens of product reviews, I stumbled upon the GIARIDE bendable solar panel: perfect for off-grid living.
I am impressed by how far this 100W solar panel could bend, especially given that it is durable, and is dust, and water-resistant. It can be bent into a smooth curve of up to a 30-degree curvature. Also, it is thin and flexible enough for almost any set-up. Even if it is very thin, it is a well-designed monocrystalline cell with a protective layer of EVA, TPT, and PET.
Installing it was also pretty simple because the holes have been drilled into the frame and I could opt to use whatever mounting method I prefer. Good thing it comes with a waterproof and sealed junction box, plus an MC4 connector.
What To Look For When Buying Flexible Solar Panels
Energy supply is a huge topic in modern-day RVing and off-grid living. And since I have seen a number of new homeowners (as well as a few old ones!) get confused on what to look for when buying bendable solar panels for their house or their rig, I have made a list on the factors to consider the next time you look around in a shop!
The Right Materials
When it comes to matters of electricity and energy, it is best not to go for products manufactured with substandard materials. Most of the time when going for cheaper and lower-quality products, there is a major backfire to be expected off the grid. And if you do not want that, then read on.
When it comes to the materials used, flexible solar panels for RV can be classified into two major variations.
Thin Film Solar Panels – The photovoltaic cell, or more commonly known as the solar cell, is an electrical device that is used to convert light energy directly into electricity. With the thin-film solar panels, these photovoltaic materials are placed unto the surface of the body.
Compared to your average silicon solar panels, these thin-film panels have layers that are at least 300 times smaller. It is this thin profile that makes it flexible and efficient! These materials are quite bendable, and can even be rolled. This makes for interesting material since it can be placed on many surfaces and materials including metals, glass, and even fabrics! Using think film solar panels, you are guaranteed to a device that is highly durable and also lightweight, which makes for easy storage and use!
Crystalline Silicon Solar Panels – The crystalline silicon option is the more widely available in the market today. They have two main types, the monocrystalline and the polycrystalline. Originally, these materials are too thick to be flexible. However, by cutting them in much thinner slices, you can have them develop some kind of flexibility while retaining their photovoltaic properties. This makes for a great flexible solar panel that is most suitable for curved surfaces, commonly used in the RV roofs.
It is common knowledge among owners of solar panel systems that there can be a vulnerability to using flexible panels. This chink in the armor is the device’s lifespan. Generally, flexible solar panels are great with adaptability and other applications; however, they have shorter lifespans than your standard solar panels. Because of this, it is advised that you look for products that generally higher lifespan than their peers. For measure, the standard glass solar panel can last up to 25 years (according to some brands), while the average flexible solar panel only has a lifespan of about 4 years, some even last for only 3 years.
When looking for the right flexible solar panel for you, be sure to check for the lifespan. There are brands out there that offer products that last up to 5 years and up.
There are many aspects when it comes to the efficiency of the flexible solar panel, but the most important is the charging efficiency. You will have to inspect if the device is able to charge energy fast and efficiently. Whether on the road in your RV or on steady sheds, you will need every bit of sunlight you can gather if you would want to keep an energy supply for your gadgets and devices.
If you want a flexible solar panel that is more adaptive and can be fit in various surfaces and spaces, then you should opt for the thin-film solar panels.
However, if you want a more heavy-duty solar panel, then go for the Crystalline Silicon option. Easy-transport features are also sought-after with such devices. Durability and protection against various elements faced in the terrain, as well as for sudden temperature changes are also great for added features. Price affordability itself can be considered a feature, as budget plays a significant part in choosing the right product for you.
Make sure to take every factor above in consideration, and see how they fare against the market price of what you think is the top-rated flexible solar panel for your home.
Other Important Factors To Consider
What are flexible solar panels?
Flexible solar panels are devices that allow for harvesting ‘green’ energy through the solar photovoltaic process. This is far off from the standard solar panels that are utilized in many households. Flexible solar panels are lightweight, which makes for easier transportation and storage while on the road.
They are also made to be extra durable since they are sure to face challenges of the grid such as varying elements (like rain and sand) brought about by different terrains, as well as sudden changes in temperature and weather. These challenges directly affect the solar panels, especially regarding issues of energy gathering and the equipment’s maintenance.
When you are traveling or staying off the grid, one of the main issues you will face is the abundance of your energy supply. Sure, you can carry around pre-charged batteries during your trips, even powerful power banks, however, trouble might arise once you run out of energy to charge your devices and equipment with.
How Does It Work
The sun is one of the most abundant energy sources on our planet. Solar panels use photovoltaic cells in order to harvest the sunlight. These cells are made with semiconducting materials, usually, silicon, sliced thinly. With the photovoltaic process, the photons (or light) emitted by the sun strikes the photovoltaic cells in the solar panel which results in the generation of electricity. Therefore, a solar panel converts sunlight directly into electricity.
You can always utilize the help of a generator, however, you would not like the noise it generates especially when you went off-grid for the purposes of peace, silence, and serenity. The next best thing you can have are solar energy systems because with it you can harness the power of the sun and generate energy without much noise while also not contributing to the planet’s further pollution usually brought about by using other options.
Panels that are flexible are all the rage nowadays because of its flexibility and efficiency. It is very adaptive and can be used in various surface types and shapes because of its flexibility. Although some might think that their efficiency is lessened because of its seemingly ‘weaker’ materials, it can actually generate as much as the standard solar panel does. It is flexible and lighter than glass solar panels, which makes it quite useful in boats, carports, cabins, and now, RVs!
Aside from the standard factors of material, efficiency, durability, and affordability, there are additional factors that should also be considered when looking for the best flexible solar panels. First, there is the factor of flexibility. Different types of solar panels provide different degrees of flexibility. Some can only bend so much, while others can provide flexibility upwards of a 30-degree angle! This speaks more of the location and the surface you would use for the solar panel, as well as the angle and tilt you are utilizing. Ventilation is another factor mostly overlooked by a number of RV and shed owners.
When a piece of equipment is used for energy and storage, it would be safe to leave a small space below the panel for proper ventilation. Internal overheating is not something you would want to encounter when you are off the grid. Lastly, mounting should also be considered. If you’ll put it in your RV, which is expected to be in constant motion, proper mounting is to be observed to ensure the equipment’s stability and safety.
What Are The Different Types Of Flexible Solar Panels
Solar energy panels come in two main variations when it comes to the materials used in manufacturing them. The two have unique benefits and advantages that it can offer any rig owner, depending really on the activities the owners planned out, and the qualities he want out of the equipment.
Thin Film Solar Panel – The thin-film solar power panel is the variation that is the most efficient in areas with poor light conditions. Unlike in the standard crystalline silicon solar cells, this variation has its photovoltaic material printed essentially unto the product’s surface. Flexibility is its calling card because this can be bent in high degrees, and sometimes even rolled! It is extremely durable and is capable of handling constant vibration as well as different elements on the road.
Crystalline Silicon Solar Panels – Silicon, which is a unique type of melted sand, are used primarily for this variation. Originally, the material’s thickness hurdled any chance of it being flexible. However, with the marvel of the modern age, we are able to cut it thin enough that it becomes quite flexible while still retaining the properties that make it great at harvesting and generating energy. There are two types of crystalline silicon panels in the market, the monocrystalline and the polycrystalline.
Why Do You Need Flexible Solar Panels
Having a steady source of energy that can be used to supply electricity for your everyday equipment and devices makes the trip more stress-free, and the flexible solar energy panel can do just that and more for your rig!
Lightweight and Flexible – The flexible solar panel’s calling card is its lightweight and flexibility. With such advantages, you can expect ease when it comes to installation and actual use. You can also expect the replacement of it easier, all the while being reliably adaptable when it comes to transportation, placement, and also storage.
Durable – Although it looks flimsy because of its flexibility, do not be fooled, the bendable solar panel is made to be durable! Being that it is used outside, it is manufactured with enough durability to not be damaged by rain, dust, sand, and other elements. It is also protected from damages from constant movement and vibration. It can also survive sudden temperature drops.
Worthy Substitute – The solar panel that is flexible is a worthy substitute to your traditional diesel generators. It is way lighter, does not take up much space in usage and storage, and with less moving parts it is one less thing to worry about on the road!
Noiseless – The solar panel saves you from the stress brought about by the loud noise traditional generators make.
Green Choice – More and more owners opt for this because it is the ‘green’ option. It harvests sunlight, works in silence, and does not add up to the pollutants that other traditional options utilize.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to install flexible solar panels?
There are a number of ways to mount a bendable solar panel, however, the most common option would be with the use of racks. Here is the installation instruction for such mount, explained step by step.
Gathering the Parts – First and foremost, you are to gather and layout all the parts needed for the mounting. The arms, the mount, the screws, all moving parts are to be accounted for. This includes the Installation Manual if you happen to have one.
Attach the Arms and the Mount – Flip the solar panel to its back, and connect the arm brackets to it by way of screws. Screw it securely on both of its sides. After this, you are to place the lock washers. This ensures that the arm brackets are properly fitting, and it also tightens the screw’s hold. The mount fits in between the arm brackets, this is where it should be screwed using the kit’s hex and nuts. There are two bolts visible here, and in each bolt, the washer and the flat washer are to be placed. Two washers secure the locking of the bolt on each side.
Attach the Pole Mount – Now that the pole mount is ready, place it at the back of the mount you have on your rig by screwing. Make sure that the hex bolts and the washers are secured, and tighten them using your screwdriver and your wrench. Quick reminder, first comes the hex bolts and then comes the washer, and then the flat washers. If you are successful in doing this, your panel should be able to stand by itself.
Finding the Right Angle – Your bendable solar panel is now ready to face the sun. This might sound easy at first, but if you count in the variables of your location and the actual placement of the panels on your rig, it will prove quite complex. Take note of your location, the sun’s direction, and where you are in the Northern or the Southern hemisphere.
Connecting the Equipment – The last part comes by way of connecting the batteries and the wiring of the solar panel. This is where it gets tricky, as different products usually come in different ways. It is best to be guided by your user manual’s specifics and to follow them thoroughly, in order to maximize the use of your flexible solar panels.
How to use flexible solar panels?
When the flexible solar panel is assembled, wired, and is mounted successfully, then you can proceed with its usage. Typically, it works just like your standard solar panel. With it, you can charge your smartphone, gadgets, and other electronic devices that you might carry around in your travels.
The main advantage of the bendable solar panel is its adaptability. Because it is flexible, it can be placed upon any given surface, no matter the surface’s material. It can be placed on a curved roof, or a leveled platform, it can even be placed on camping backpacks for when you want to harvest the sun’s energy while you are out on the trail, or if you are trekking and camping off the grid!
Another great advantage of this type of panel is its weight. This solar panel variation is usually lightweight, meaning it would not be a hassle to bring out on the road. Unlike traditional diesel generators which would require manpower in order to carry around on the road (while also being quite the heavy burden for your rig!), this solar energy panel is easier to bring out for usage, as much as it is quite easy to store. Some flexible solar panels are so flexible, you can even roll it!
When you opt for the bendable solar panel, you are not only choosing the more lightweight and flexible of the options. You are also choosing capable equipment that can provide the energy supply you need as much as the heavier and noisier diesel generators.
How to care for and clean flexible solar panels?
Knowing how solar panel works are only half the battle. The other half lies in maintaining it in good working quality in order to provide a better travel experience for you, your friends, and your loved ones. Here are a few pointers on how you should clean your panels.
First, you are to check and look for stains and deposits on the modules. By using freshwater, you can remove these dirt stains, dust particles, even the occasional bird droppings, alongside other debris that stands to lessen the interaction of the sun and your panels. Fewer chances of sunlight reaching your panels will mean less energy that you can store and use later on. Using water and neutral soap, wipe the surface of the panels carefully and thoroughly. Other chemicals are safe to use for the cleaning of your panels, like denatured alcohol, among others. This is usually used to remove grease and other stains from your equipment.
Applying a plastic protectorate coating is optional, but is mostly advised if you frequently use the solar panels on the road. This can be done once the panel is clean and dry. If you notice a build-up of contaminants on your solar panels, as well as oxidation, it may also be advisable to polish the panels by hand (power polishers can do more harm than good in such delicate parts).
Do not forget to wipe the rest of the parts, including the arm brackets and the mount in order to keep them in good condition as well. After cleaning the equipment, thoroughly check for the wirings, the small parts, and the overall structural integrity of the equipment in order to gauge its actual condition. It is also advisable to do regular check-ups for the system’s efficiency.
If I were to give a brief summary of the advantages of the flexible solar panel, it is that it makes going out on adventures easier. With its lightweight, it is easier to assemble, install, and repair than most diesel generators out there. It is also easier to keep in storage since it does not take up much space, and easier to clean since it is very straightforward and has fewer parts.
It can adapt to numerous kinds of surfaces, able to work in various shapes and sizes. It is durable, you can rely on its use for more than five years, and is also able to survive various challenges off the grid. It is a noiseless substitute for the diesel generator, and it can also work on areas with poor or high light conditions. Most of all, it is the cheaper option because it has fewer parts and materials, making it widely available in the market for owners who are looking for the best flexible solar panels that they can find